Congress wants to know if Chinese businesses are evading American sanctions that forbid the importing of products created with slave labor from the Uhygur people.
According to recent findings by Congressional investigators, red jujube dates, an Asian fruit that is cultivated and packed in China’s disputed Xinjiang province utilizing slave labor from Uyghurs, are sold in grocery stores across the nation, including in Washington, D.C., and its surrounding communities. According to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, a group of 27 Republican legislators is requesting information from the U.s. Treasury and Customs and Border Protection about how these products are getting into American stores and assisting Communist organizations that employ slave labor.
The June-passed Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act makes it unlawful to import products made by the Chinese Communist Party using Uyghur slave labor. However, the senators claim that this has not stopped a Chinese business called XPCC from selling the jujube dates to a middleman called Qingdao Daochuan Food firm Ltd, who then sells the goods to a distributor in Brooklyn. According to congressional sources, the sanctions-busting technique is reminiscent of strategies employed by the Iranian dictatorship to get around comparable human rights measures. The introduction of these goods onto the American market has fueled claims that the Biden administration is not upholding the law.
One of the letter’s signatories, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), told the Free Beacon that selling goods produced using Uyghur slave labor is against the law and immoral. “The existence of these red dates in American grocery shops is a blatant failure by the Biden administration to implement this rule,” said Customs and Border Patrol. “Congress has asked them to guarantee that no items created in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are authorized to enter American markets.”
The firm that makes the dates, XPCC, is a state-owned paramilitary and commercial enterprise in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. All Americans are prohibited from doing business with the corporation since it was initially sanctioned in 2020 for violating human rights.
However, according to photographic proof collected by a congressional employee and provided in the letter, jujube dates made by XPCC were recently discovered in a number of locales, including a grocery in the D.C. suburbs. The MPs note that some of the items are even “branded with XPCC brandingâ€”a logo of XPCC military saluting a red communist banner written on the bags themselves,” proving that the packaging “unambiguously shows that XPCC is the producer.”
Versions of these dates are also available on Amazon from independent merchants.
According to the congressmen, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act “requires that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) hold all items” coming from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region “on the premise that the commodities were produced with forced labor.” However, exports from the area “reached a two-year high,” raising concerns about the administration of Biden’s enforcement actions.
The letter claims that the availability of red jujube dates from XUAR in the United States, including through online retailers like Amazon and frequently with XPCC markings, “raises critical aspects about how seriously Customs and Border Protection is implementing U.S. prohibitions against China’s forced labor abuses.”